19 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Betsy Sodaro gets into the spirit of the season for UCB's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Betsy Sodaro gets into the spirit of the season for UCB's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
John Roiniotis

From a bike race/food drive/scavenger hunt to a festival of teeny tiny films, we've found fun stuff to do every day through Thanksgiving. 

fri 11/20

As host Andy Kindler himself might put it, "What is it, my anniversary? What is it, 12 months since I started? What is it, a third thing?" The Marc Maron and Bob's Burgers veteran welcomes fellow stand-ups including Nikki Glaser, Kurt Braunohler and Beth Stelling to the first anniversary of Andy Kindler's Particular Show, celebrating a year of pessimism, alienation and industry-insider outrage. In an August list of the "10 Best New Stand-Up Shows in L.A.," we wrote of Kindler's show: "Any premises too cutesy, hacky or toothless will incur Kindler's unique brand of eye-popping ridicule. ... It's as real — and revealing — as live comedy gets." Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Fri., Nov. 20, 9 p.m.; $8. nerdmeltla.com. —Julie Seabaugh

He's a smoldering Spanish legend. She's a spirited American upstart. The pairing, guaranteed to make sparks fly, is the latest matchmaking effort from Valley Performing Arts Center's new artistic director, Thor Steingraber, who introduced celebrated Spanish flamenco master José Porcel to explosive Sephardic Iranian-American dancer Leilah Broukhim. The result: Broukhim joins Porcel and his eponymous Compañia Flamenca José Porcel in Flamenco Fire, an evening of live music and serious footwork. Steingraber opened his debut season at VPAC with Diavolo Architecture in Motion's performance of the trilogy L'Espace Du Temps accompanied by a live orchestra. Here he continues to promote VPAC as a major performance venue by orchestrating another singular collaboration with drive-worthy dance enhanced by live music. Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Fri., Nov. 20, 8 p.m.; $20-$60. (818) 677-3000, valleyperformingartscenter.org. —Ann Haskins

Michael Mann makes genre movies like no one else, not that he always gets credit for it. (Latest example: Blackhat, the most underrated film of the year.) Were you aware, for instance, that it was actually Manhunter and not The Silence of the Lambs that first brought Hannibal Lecter to the silver screen? Brian Cox's take on that most infamous of cannibals is closer to the Mads Mikkelsen end of the spectrum than Anthony Hopkins, and it's a vital part of this odd, unsettling exploration of the character. The New Beverly shows it along with Thief, another of Mann's underseen works, which stars James Cann as — wait for it — a thief. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri., Nov. 20, 7 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

sat 11/21

On the heels of UCLA's high-concept Game Art Festival comes the relaxed International Games Day, which gives the general public a chance to try out avant-garde analog and digital games designed by students. In the board game Will I Get Measles at Disneyland? each player is a mother shepherding her kids through a theme park full of infected children. GoldenStern is a pinball-like video game that uses an Xbox controller to mimic flippers, sending a golden coin bouncing off beautifully rendered faces. At 1 p.m., listen to the music of Super Mario, Zelda and Witcher 3, performed live by the Game Music Ensemble. UCLA Powell Library, second-floor rotunda, 405 Hilgard Ave., Westwood; Sat., Nov. 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. ucla.in/1Ku7Ghm. —Sascha Bos

"I saved Latin. What did you ever do?" If you already know that line, it's in your best interest to go see Rushmore at the Palace Theatre on 35mm. And if you haven't already acquainted yourself with the world of Max Fischer — a terrible student with a very long list of extracurriculars who falls in love with one of his teachers — there's no time like the present. This being a Cinespia event, Wes Anderson's classic coming-of-age story won't be the only entertainment; full bars, a free photo booth and DJs await as well. Palace Theatre, 630 S. Broadway St., downtown; Sat. Nov. 21, 9 p.m. (doors at 7:30); $20. (213) 553-4567, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine

Now in its 15th year, Cranksgiving is a combination bike race/food drive/scavenger hunt that makes donating groceries for Thanksgiving way more fun. Hosted by U-Lock-Mob Cycling, the event is a messenger-style alley-cat race, which means racers stop at checkpoints to complete tasks, and how well you perform in the race depends on racking up points. Instead of a bib, you ride with a snazzy spoke card. The point today is not to win but to collect provisions and funds for Para Los Niños, a nonprofit that provides educational and mental-health support for at-risk children in Los Angeles. Echo Park Lake, Echo Park; Sat., Nov. 21, 1 p.m. (registration opens at noon); $10-$15 donation in grocery purchases. facebook.com/events/173569689651521. —Sascha Bos

Pop culture consumers with deep pockets will converge on Designer Con 2015, a two-day event that attracts 300-plus vendors selling designer toys, art, apparel and other collectibles across more than 70,000 square feet of space. Competing for shoppers' attention will be live demonstrations, a panel led by the creative folks behind Kidrobot, signings and DJs, in addition to a Back to the Future–themed art show and dozens of comic book covers re-created by fans using Legos. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Sat., Nov. 21, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $7. designercon.com. —Siran Babayan

Despite having long endeared himself to fans with the likes of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright has never managed to get his debut feature to premiere in these United States of America — until now. A Fistful of Fingers, the writer-director's 1995 spaghetti Western send-up, gets the Heavy Midnites treatment courtesy of Cinefamily. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave.; Fairfax; Sat., Nov. 21, 11:59 p.m.; $14. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

The Los Angeles Region Planning History Group hosts The Business of Fun: The Role of Theme Parks in Shaping Los Angeles, a daylong symposium on the evolution of L.A.'s theme parks from family fun to one of the city's biggest cash cows. Panel members include Greg Fischer, CEO of real estate research consulting firm LA1781; Eric Lynxwiler, host of Neon Cruise; and authors Greg Goldin and Sam Gennawey, who'll look at both today's tourist destinations (Disneyland, Universal CityWalk, the Grove) and amusement parks from the past (Lion Country Safari in Laguna Hills, Gay's Lion Farm in El Monte, the Ostrich Farm in South Pasadena), and ask: "What is the future of public spaces that include entertainment?" Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino; Sat., Nov. 21, 0x000A9 a.m.-2 p.m.; $50, $35 students. (626) 405-2100, larphg.org/2015/08/20/business-of-fun/. —Siran Babayan

Comedian Dick Gregory is still at it.
Comedian Dick Gregory is still at it.
Star Foreman

sun 11/22

Social satirist, author and civil rights activist Dick Gregory appeared on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar and performed at the Playboy Club chain of venues in the early 1960s, ran for mayor of Chicago in '67 (and president of the United States in '68), released 15 albums and, in February, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At 83, Gregory remains involved in causes including nonviolence, capital punishment, drug laws and — as a cancer survivor — health care reform; in today's political climate, his legacy looms larger than ever. With special guest TK Kirkland. The Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Sun., Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $30-$60. (323) 650-6268, thecomedystore.com. —Julie Seabaugh

Upcoming Events

UCLA gets oceanic with Tabu: A Story of the South Seas and Legong: Dance of the Virgins. In addition to its many other merits, F.W. Murnau's Tabu is an avowed influence on Terrence Malick — unsurprising, given its lyrical beauty and fixation on nature. Legong, a travelogue-turned-narrative, also explores a difficult romance between two islanders (from Bali in this case). Viewers will have a chance to get their sea legs for the double bill, which comes as part of UCLA's Archive Treasures: 50th Anniversary Celebration series, with a Hearst newsreel from 1930. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd.; Westwood; Sun., Nov. 22, 3 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

Actor-writer-director Donald Ian Black poses a challenge for L.A.-based filmmakers: Keep it really short. For Tiny Teeny, back after a two-year hiatus, artists are tasked with making a short film that clocks in at less than four minutes. The results of this experiment in pithy cinema will be screened on Sunday night. This year's directors include the Walsh Brothers (The Great & Secret Comedy Show), Grant McFadden (The Hometown Show) and Kelsea Burke. Live music, including a live improvised short-film score by Ghiant, rounds out the night. HM157, 3110 N. Broadway, Lincoln Heights; Sun., Nov. 22, 7 p.m.; $7. (562) 895-9399, hm157.com —Liz Ohanesian

Oliver Stone isn't the only filmmaker to delve into JFK's assassination, and Los Angeles Filmforum has gathered several exemplars to mark the 52nd anniversary. Art From Assassination: 52 Years After JFK showcases six different short films that wouldn't exist were it not for what transpired on the grassy knoll; though the entire program sounds excellent, the highlight has to be Underworld and Zapruder, an edited version of the famous footage featuring narration from Don DeLillo's brilliant, epochal novel about almost every aspect of life in America during the latter half of the 20th century. Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 466-3456, lafilmforum.org. —Michael Nordine

mon 11/23

South Korean director Soon-Mi Yoo's Songs From the North takes an up-close and personal look at the mysteries of North Korea, peeling back the layers of its people's psychology and ideologies. In an effort to both decode and dodge the clichés about the country's xenophobic hypernationalism, the U.S.-based filmmaker explores her own clashing thoughts about her former neighbor by weaving footage from three visits to North Korea with songs, stage spectacle and popular cinema along with archival clips. Yoo will be present at the screening of her prize-winning film. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Mon., Nov. 23, 8:30 p.m.; $11, $8 REDCAT members and students, $6 CalArts students, faculty and staff. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —John Payne

It may be warm outside, but inside UCB Sunset it will be a chilly, New York morning as the club hosts the UCB Thanksgiving Day Parade, its own version of the iconic Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Rosy-cheeked and dressed for the cold, mock newscasters Chip Davis and Bud Criswell (Justin Michael and Jacob Reed of sketch group Tremendosaur) join UCB's top performers and sketch groups, who'll bring to life the parade's famous balloons and floats, as well as musical and Broadway performers, sideline hecklers and maybe even celebrities. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Feliz; Mon., Nov. 23, 8:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 467-6600, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

tue 11/24

Larry Ceplair discusses his 2014 book, Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical. Film historian Ceplair chronicles the life and career of the Spartacus screenwriter, novelist and playwright (and subject of the new film Trumbo, starring Bryan Cranston). Part of the Hollywood Ten, Trumbo was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 for his Communist Party affiliation, and later jailed for contempt for a year. While blacklisted, he won two Oscars for the films Roman Holiday and The Brave One. Co-written with Trumbo's son Christopher, Ceplair's book includes personal letters, notes, articles, speeches and pamphlets. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Tue., Nov. 24, 0x000A7 p.m.; free, book is $40. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan

Raymond Chandler wrote or co-wrote three produced screenplays, two of which you've probably heard of: Double Indemnity (directed by Billy Wilder) and Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock). In between these two classics came the lesser known The Blue Dahlia, in which a man who once pulled a gun on his unfaithful wife for failing to prevent the death of their son is suspected of her eventual murder. Decide for yourself whether this time was the charm for co-stars Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, whose third pairing it was. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Nov. 24, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

wed 11/25

"The goal is to make talking about testicular and prostate cancer testing and treatment easier, since silly things like embarrassment, machismo or pride keep men from getting properly checked," says Naked Comedy (Baked, Picture This!) producer Sam Varela. "Even if they have something, it may keep them from getting treatment." Her third annual Man Cancer Movember show features comedians T.J. Miller, Nikki Glaser, Drennon Davis, Sex Nerd Sandra, H. Alan Scott, Blake Wexler and host Sean Green, with stand-up, music, survivor stories and legit health education. Proceeds benefit the Movember Foundation. Hollywood Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Wed., Nov. 25, 8 p.m. (doors 7:30); $15. (323) 655-9050, hollywood.improv.com. —Julie Seabaugh

Look at them turkeys trottin' in Long Beach.
Look at them turkeys trottin' in Long Beach.
Justin Rudd

thu 11/26

Few things feel less L.A. than gorging on turkey and stuffing, then settling in to watch a football game. So lace up your running shoes and start the day with a fiery 5 or 10k Turkey Trot through the architecturally rich streets of downtown L.A. or along the ocean in Long Beach. If you feel like giving back, Gobble Gobble Give has three hubs around the city where volunteers assemble care packages for our much-neglected homeless population. For a new take on cranberry-stuffed turkey, try A Gentle Thanksgiving, where you can feed cranberries to rescued turkeys and feast on a vegan dinner before joining a drum circle. Proceeds from the dinner go toward year-round care for the rescued animals on A Gentle Barn's sanctuary. Your juice cleanse starts tomorrow. Turkey Trot Los Angeles: City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., downtown; 8/8:30 a.m. (registration opens 6:45 a.m.); $15-$60. (310) 821-7898, turkeytrot.la. Turkey Trot Long Beach: 1 Granada Ave., Long Beach; 7/8:30/10 a.m. (registration opens 6:15 a.m.); $30-$38. turkeytrot.us. Gobble Gobble Give: The Regent, 448 S. Main St., downtown; The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; The Raven Spa, 208 Pier Ave., Santa Monica; bring food and/or cold-weather clothing. gobblegobblegive.wordpress.com. A Gentle Thanksgiving: The Gentle Barn, 15825 Sierra Hwy., Santa Clarita; 3-8 p.m.; $100-$175. (661) 252-2440. gentlebarn.org/thanksgiving-ca-tn. —Sascha Bos

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